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Palestine Liberation Organization


Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918—1970) Egyptian colonel and statesman, Prime Minister 1954–6 and President 1956–70

West Bank

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Arab-Israeli Conflict

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Ongoing conflict between Arabs and Israel over Palestinian territory. The origins of the conflict lie in the Balfour Declaration (1917), which promised “a national home for the Jewish people,” and in Arab-Jewish conflict during the British mandate period. Since the creation of Israel in 1948, Arabs and Israelis have fought wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973. In 1978 Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty (Camp David accords). In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon. In December 1987 Palestinians launched the intifadah (uprising) in an attempt to liberate the West Bank and Gaza. In 1988 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) expressed a desire to reach a peace with Israel based on a two-state solution. The United States and Russia sponsored the Madrid peace talks (1991) with Israel, Palestinian representatives, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon: no agreement was reached. Two years later in Oslo, Israelis and Palestinians signed a Declaration of Principles in which the parties agreed to resolve issues over a timeline, but the most intractable matters still remain unresolved: the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian state boundaries, sovereignty, and water control issues. In late 2000 a new intifadah erupted amid calls for a Palestinian state after Israeli general and hard-liner Ariel Sharon visited the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. To date, only Jordan and Egypt have signed full peace treaties with Israel, though many other Arab nations have informal relations.

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